Scripting News for 9/27/2006

Screen shot. Three days into the ad program at Techmeme, one of the advertisers, oDesk, has used their spot to announce something noteworthy, and it bought them more visibility, at least with me. The second just says Techmeme Sponsorship which seems a fair waste of the attention, why not say something about your company. The third does explain what the company does, but not very efficiently. Seems like people are still figuring this out, or the price isn’t so high that it’s worth much thought. If I had a slot there I’d be trying more ideas out, for sure.  

Scoble: “Find me the best blogs from Demo.” Ditto. 

Random idea — A BitTorrent device that plugs into your router (or maybe it is a router) that senses when you’re not using the net, and starts serving BT content. As soon as you start using the net, it goes offline.  

Steve Matthews: Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law Firms

I took the MacBook down to the Apple Store in Emeryville. The “genius” (no sarcasm) took a quick look at the machine and said they know what the problem is (he wouldn’t explain), and ordered a replacement part. I’ll have to leave the computer at the store for 4-5 days in about a week. Why I had to drive down there I don’t know. What would it be like to own a Mac where the Apple Store is a hundred miles away?  

Another dumb question. I have a Windows machine that’s misbehaving badly, but I think I can trick it into launching the Explorer, but I have to do it from the command prompt. But I’m stuck, cause I don’t know how to type the name of a directory that has a space in it. In other words, I want to CD to a directory called “FOO BAR” without the quotes of course. Is there a way to tell to change to that directory? (Postscript: Two things made all the diff. 1. I switched from command to cmd. 2. And instead of launching the Explorer, which seems to be damaged in some way, I just used MS-DOS to copy the files to a backup disk. It took a couple of hours, but it’s done. Thanks for all the great advice!!) 

Martin Schwimmer says I’m right, the monkey is wrong. πŸ™‚ 

Liz Gannes reports on Day 1 at Demo. 

Duncan Mackenzie is thinking about tags vs categories in blog posts.  

On this day in 2003, Doug Kaye added an RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures for IT Conversations. I wrote: “Hey we’re starting to get a (very small) installed base of interesting feeds that use the enclosures.” That’s how standards get created. Someone goes first, then someone goes second, compatibly. And so on. In this case, Doug was the “ratifier.” 

When I see this dialog I think it’s only talking about photos. But then I read it carefully and “albums” might refer to music. Is this the place where you lose all the music on the iPod if you click on Yes? I don’t see how it could be. And damn if I know what they’re talking about. I’ve never synced (is that a word) this iPod with a photo library or folder. I just use it for music.  

More on MacBook random shutdowns 

Via email from Tim Joransen…

“A coworker’s daughter had one with this problem. She had it sent in before she started college, but it happened again once she got to college. After a lot of stress and pushing Apple, they resolved it, by trading it up for a Mac Book Pro. So they spent more money, but they did get $200 off for having to do this. I guess the Apple tech person said they probably didn’t want to bother risking it continuing. Not a pretty picture for those it afflicts.

“His daughter loves the Mac Book Pro even better (bigger screen), but my friend isn’t too happy.”

29 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bill connell on September 27, 2006 at 8:08 am

    Maybe you’ve already worked this out, but there are two modes to iPod use: automatic and manual. It looks like yours was set up to automatically sync up with the original computer. This is the default, and it works well in single-computer setups. I said no to that dialog, and set my iPod up for manual syncing because i have music on it from both my work and home computers, and i use it for moving files on various other machines. This way, when i connect it to a new computer, it never asks if i want to replace my library, in fact, i’m not sure that iTunes even auto-launches anymore, and that’s how i like it. I can still have Podcasts automatically load onto the iPod (in the preferences menu, settable only when the iPod is connected), but it doesn’t otherwise change the music library unless i drag something on to it.

    HTH, just something i figured out after getting mine a couple of years ago (and reloading music because of it).


  2. cd “foo bar”

    too easy eh ? πŸ™‚


  3. Posted by david brown on September 27, 2006 at 9:02 am

    To cd into a directory with spaces, just surround the directory name with double quotes, just as you did in your post.

    in fact, if you type the first few letters and then use tab to complete the name, it will surround it with quotes for you.


  4. Simon, David — I tried that (I was pretty sure I had) — it says it’s an error.

    “Parameter format not correct – “radio

    I had typed:

    cd “radio userland”

    Hey as long as I have your attention, where is the Explorer app located?


  5. Posted by Craig on September 27, 2006 at 9:15 am

    A couple thoughts:
    1. One trick would be to type cd foo?bar (wildcard will work for the space).
    2. Try with cmd.exe, not (unless there’s a reason you have to use if things are really hosed)
    3. Explorer.exe is usually in c:\windows




  6. Posted by Jeremy Wiebe on September 27, 2006 at 9:28 am

    Actually, if you’re using cmd.exe, you don’t even need to use quotes. For example, from my user directory, I can type “cd My Documents”, and it will work.


  7. It’s with cmd.exe that the double quotes work, not, as Craig suspected.

    You can also do: cd foo*

    If that’s the only one that has foo in it.


  8. Posted by Keith Veleba on September 27, 2006 at 9:29 am

    Yes, I second the use of cmd.exe, which has the support for spaces in the filename, and the tab auto completion. If you’re stuck with, you’ll have to guess the short name. For example, “c:\Program Files” is usually something like c:\progra~1 in short form.


  9. Dave,

    First type in dir // this will show directory names

    then type in foo~1 // type in directory name as it appears on the dir listing


  10. Keith, your suggestion worked, I was able to get into the Program Files directory and launch my scripting environment. But I can’t launch explorer.exe, it’s just not launching. I guess that’s the problem. Oy. I just want to back up the disk and then put it in the closet.


  11. Dave, it sounds like you’re stuck with the old 8.3 file namind convention. Chris has it right above…


  12. Posted by heavyboots on September 27, 2006 at 9:43 am

    re: Macbook

    If the Apple Store doesn’t know about it, apparently you are supposed to call Apple directly. Apparently, this is a POPULAR repair right now, though! People are citing something like 2 week turnaround. If this is the Apple Store you bought from, maybe try leaning on them to see if you can get it swapped for a new unit, since it is “business-critical”? Or maybe see if they can order the repair kit and then call you when it’s in the store.

    As for the Windows machine, is there tab completion in cmd.exe? If so, you may able to type “cd radio” and let it fill in the right name and space replacements.


  13. Posted by heavyboots on September 27, 2006 at 9:44 am

    Argh, the html stripper got me. Should read “cd radio[tab]”


  14. Posted by Danny on September 27, 2006 at 10:05 am

    If you can launch cmd.exe and have your path set to include the windows dir (the default), you can just type explorer at the command prompt.


  15. Okay I have cmd.exe running now, that’s much better (I never have run it before), but when I try to run explorer.exe the same thing happens as happened in —

    Access is denied.



  16. Posted by Jeremy Wiebe on September 27, 2006 at 10:45 am

    You could give this a shot: Hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the Windows Task Manager, then File-> New Task (Run), and enter “explorer”

    It may well do the same thing as under cmd.exe, but it’s worth trying.


  17. Posted by Craig on September 27, 2006 at 10:59 am

    Not sure what type of things you need to do to archive/backup before you boat anchor it, but maybe try approaching the problem from a different perspective – what exactly do you need explorer for? i.e. could you use the command line (or alternate methods) to do what you need to do (map a network share, copy files, etc.?)


  18. “I want to CD to a directory called β€œFOO BAR””

    cd foo*

    That will also work, assuming there is no other directory that begins with the letters “foo”. Yeah, it’s a hack, but it sounds like you’re already hacking anyway πŸ™‚


  19. Craig, I think you have found the secret answer.
    What I’m going to try is:
    1. Attach a USB drive to the laptop.
    2. CD to a directory I want to back up.
    3. copy *.* e:
    4. Go to 2 until done.


  20. I am a little late to the parade, but I would suggest using cmd over command any day of the week. Additionally, if you really want to get tricky, you can use the truncated 8-dot-3 name for the folder in question. Thus, “Radio Userland” would become RADIOU~1.

    Also, I would suggest using xcopy over copy as well, if possible.


  21. Another ‘out of the box thinking’ option: take the drive out and install it into another windows machine then use the exlorer on the new machine to drag your files to where ever you want.


  22. Don, that’s really out of the box, in a literal sense! πŸ™‚

    I’m now doing the xcopy thing, with the /E option (copy all folders and sub-folders, including empty ones). This will copy a lot of crap, for sure, like the browser cache, but I can delete it later. Luckily I had an underutilized backup drive hanging around.


  23. I use
    WINDOWS + E to launch Explorer then start typing and arrowing

    not sure if that helps


  24. Posted by smatthew on September 27, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for the link Dave! I’ll read Scripting News now until I retire. πŸ™‚


  25. If the Apple store is too far away or in a hard to get to place (like ours stuck in a mall that’s not easy to get to) what I’ve Apple support and they’ll ship you a box to send it in for repair. The downside is this adds 24 hours to the process. The other option is that you can have the store send it to Apple and then have Apple ship it back to you saving a second Apple store trip.


  26. Posted by stephen bove on September 27, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    many of the better torrent clients (like microtorrent “”) implement automatic “flow control” that can be further configured from preferences that deprioritize torrent sharing when other network traffic is sensed…I’ve never measured this scientifically, but microtorrent seems to stay out the way…


  27. If you don’t have an Apple Store near by you can always pick up the phone book and find an authorized reseller. They can do pretty much the same as an Apple store but with less glamor… I had my MBP repaired in Venezuela, nearest Apple Store? Miami… Ouch! It took only a day and I got the best possible service. The problem with my MBP was a faulty CD Drive.

    If that still is not enough, you can call Apple and they ship you a box to send your computer. I think you are getting pretty good service.


  28. Posted by Patrick Cavit on September 27, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    My router provides Quality of Service, so I’ve set lower priorities for bittorrent and FTP and other protocols that like to use lots of bandwidth. That way they will automatically lose bandwidth as other applications that have higher priority are used. It’s great and allows me to get the most out of my connection.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: